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Community Partners Campus in search of a permanent home

Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 7:42 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 17, 2020 at 10:51 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Eight different non-profit organizations in Wausau may soon have their own home, but right now the issue is finding a permanent building for them.

The Community Partners program board was planning to build a brand-new facility for all of the non-profit organizations at 1300 Cleveland Avenue.

However, the city ruled out that idea due to environmental safety concerns and now the question is, what their next step will be.

“We feel we’re a little bit behind in getting the Community Partners Campus off the ground, we wish we were open now,” Community Partners Campus Board Member Kevin Noel said.

Noel said bringing together eight of Wausau’s non-profits under one roof is essential for smoother operation for each of them to focus their efforts on their organization rather than their facilities.

“Everybody is really looking forward to joining hands in this project,” Noel said.

However, time to complete the project may be running out in order to reach their goal of opening on time.

“Come next winter, we want to have a home for all of those partners to be able to be safe and secure and in a building, they no longer have to worry about,” Community Partners Campus Board President Brian Gumness said.

The idea of the campus would be similar to a one-stop-shop supercenter to help all of the needs of those who may be underprivileged in the community.

“They don’t have to travel all the way around the city to go to all these different locations to get the services that they need,” Gumness said.

In a perfect world, the Community Partners Campus would like to move into the Marathon County Social Services Center, but it could be three to four years before they even move out, so right now, a location is still up in the air.

Gumness told NewsChannel 7 they have a number of possible locations in mind for the campus other than the social services building, but he said that that structure would be the best-case scenario, due to its size and close proximity to downtown Wausau.

The Neighbors' Place Executive Director Donna Ambrose said moving to a 30,000 square foot building would be beneficial for both volunteers and users.

“Having a campus where our organization and other non-profits that serve the same people to be in one space would make it so much easier for those we serve because we know that transportation is one of the biggest barriers for people in poverty,” Ambrose said.

The facility would also have housing assistance programs, mental health programs, and a free clinic for those uninsured or unemployed, which would be the first of its kind in Wausau.

“To have the opportunity to work in a space and put more of our money and power and might into the mission and not have to worry about the building is huge,” Ambrose said.

The Community Partners Campus Board plans to have fundraisers to help pay for a building, but they are unsure of exactly how much money is needed at this point.

It’s their hope to have the campus ready for use by the fall of 2021.

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